White oak acorns being hand-planted at the KDF nursery.


Sawdust covering newly planted white oak acorns.

Seedlings from the acorn collections will be transplanted into the field at one year of age to create a genetic test.  Since the environment is the same for all seedlings in the genetic test, we can determine that differences among seedlings such as height growth will be due to the genetic makeup of the seedling. The genetic tests will be replicated on different sites which allows us to see if the genetic response is the same or varies under different environmental conditions. Partners in the network might be interested in doing genetic testing on their sites using white oak material from the range-wide collection.  


Small branches (known as scions) from the mother trees the acorns were collected from will be grafted onto oak seedling roots (known as root stock) whose stem diameters match the scion diameter.  This grafted material will be planted near the genetic test sites and is called a clone bank since the grafted trees are storing or "banking" the original genetic material of the mother trees.  As the seedlings in the genetic tests grow into mature trees, those with desirable traits (relative to what a particular constituency might want) will be selected to remain in the tests and the non-selected (less desirable) trees will be removed from the genetic tests. The original mother trees of the selected trees in the clone bank will be used to provide scion material to establish a grafted seed orchard of the selected trees. Acorns produced from seed orchard trees will be the result of pollen mixing among the selected trees and thus represents "improved white oak".   Seeds of improved white oak will be available to the partners and sponsors of the project.


Contact us if your organization is interested in establishing demonstration plots containing different sources of white oak or seed orchard trees.

Acorn collections from different states planted at KDF nursery.